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Internal and External Environment Analysis

Rev. Alemu Sheta

Strengths and Weakness/Limitations: Internal Environment

EFCE has strengths that enable it to support its members. The existing internal strengths are also the starting point to dream about the organization’s future as indicated in this strategic direction. The SLOTs of ECFE listed below came from the synthesis of the questionnaire responses, different workshops and Focus Group discussions conducted and the review of the available documents. These SLOTs are the initial point of departure towards the development of the future strategies.

Strengths:

  • Acceptance of ECFE: The reputation and acceptance as a central symbol of spiritual unity among the member denominations,
  • Staff Members: The strength of the spiritual commitment and the integrity of the Board and staff members,
  • Existing Capacity: The ECFE Secretariat capacity to provide support to missions of evangelism through short-term training programs and other mechanisms,
  • Potential Force of Membership: ECFE’s structure based on large, broad-based and growing membership base stretching from local to national and international levels,
  • Professional Pool: The pool of highly professional individuals in its membership in Ethiopia and in the Diaspora,  

Weakness/Limitations:

  • Unclear Vision & Mission: Absence of any commonly agreed strategic direction,
  • Responsiveness: Delayed response, sometimes not at all, to capacity building and other assistances requested by the members from the Secretariat,
  • Non-functioning commissions: Some partially or totally non-functioning commissions established under the Secretariat,
  • “Competitor”: Overlap of some of the functions with member churches,
  • Implementing decisions: Lack of capacity and attention to implement most of the decisions made by the General Assembly,
  • PublicImageBuilding: A very small and scattered effort in deliberate public relation activities about its mission and activities, coupled with ineffective communication and networking with the members,
  • Membership Role: Lack of capacity to mobilize members support and lack of commitment by members to support ECFE in having its own office,
  • Resource Mobilization: Limited capacity to raise available resources especially from abroad,
  • Internal systems: Lack of systematic approach and clear structure to internal working mechanisms in the areas of Human Resources and financial management, unclear organizational structure, leadership and governance,
  • Service Delivery: Ability to deliver only a small amount of the demanded services by members,
  • Communication: Lack of capacity to effectively communicate with and deliver the required service to Diaspora churches,
  • Expectation: Sometimes unrealistic expectation of members and limited resources to meet those expectations,
  • Tapping resource: No clear strategy to tap and galvanize the large membership base.

Opportunities and Threats: External Environment

Opportunities:

  • Gospel Movements: Revival of evangelical movements in many parts of the world and their strong will to help initiatives towards the work of God,
  • Alliances: The positive trend of various donors to support alliances and associations favoring ECFE as a strategic structure to work with, 
  • Right to Religion: The religious freedom recognized by Ethiopia’s constitution gives freedom of worship,
  • Recognition: Recognition of the Fellowship by government and other institutions as an umbrella organization of evangelical churches,
  • Commonly Accepted Issues: Emergence of issues like HIV/AIDS as opportunity for ECFE and the membership to spread the good news through service,

Threats:

  • Competition: The presence of fundamentalist groups that are against peaceful co-existence and unity among people,
  • Governance: The generation gap creating differences on the mechanisms of governance/leadership of the Fellowship as well as the membership,
  • Limited Commitment: Some members with huge size of membership becoming less convinced of the added value of ECFE.
  • Indoctrination: “String-attached” assistance by some donors imposing their own agenda.
  • Culture of Giving: Increasing poverty and discouraging culture of giving.     

Strategic Issues

Strategic issues are major concerns currently surrounding the work of ECFE. They were extracted from the results of the different assessments explained in the previous sections. The issues will be used as a checklist to verify that the strategic direction is designed in such a way that answers the questions under each issue. Therefore, the strategic goals and objectives and hence future intervention directions were identified to address them. The issues are listed below with associated questions.

  • Strong Will and Demand for Common Representation: Do the evangelical member churches recognize and support ECFE as a central forum to represent and reflect their collective voice to other government and non-governmental institutions as stipulated in the constitution?
  • The Need to Develop Mandates, Vision & Mission in a Participatory way: Does the claim of being an umbrella organization match with proper consultation and full recognition of members’ role in the development of the mandates, mission and vision?
  • Constituency and Membership: As a membership institution, does ECFE have a clear policy to accept or reject membership requests? Are membership applications handled in a simple and fast way?
  • Systematic Approach in Internal Management:: Are the Human Resource,  including staff retention, financial, logistical, and programmatic management being handled in a professional and systematic way? Is there a mechanism to incorporate the most up-to-date methodology available?
  • Focus: Should ECFE deliver services or focus on capacity building and coordination? Should it do some or all?
  • Shaping-up of the Governance/Leadership Structure: Is the current governance structure simple and efficient? Is its communication style efficient enough to inform members individually and General Assembly collectively? Does the leadership have transparency, commitment, delegation and capacity?
  • The Need To Focus On Specific Tasks: Is ECFE in all cases operate as an umbrella organization, so that it will spend its resources on efficient and effective activities? Do all its activities geared to bring about a synergic effect? Is it focusing on overarching activities like advocacy, capacity building, networking, research, documentation, etc. rather than spending resources on implementing activities that could be done by individual members?
  • Mobilization of Participation & Resource: What strategy is in place or need to be designed to galvanize active participation and support especially from larger denominations? What systems must be put in place to make ECFE effective and efficient in mobilizing resource to achieve its objectives?
  •  Representation Role: What strategy will it accept to represent the evangelical churches with out being felt it is taking over the traditional role being played by members?
  • Information Technology: How could it effectively use ICT for spreading the Gospel and for internal communication?